I’m at BlogCon 11 in Denver today, and we had our much-anticipated visit from the Occupy movement at around 2 PM local time. About twenty of them stormed the lobby – shouting, chanting, and stinking to an astonishing degree. No exaggeration: the stench of these characters easily reached through closed doors. They were quickly surrounded by camera-wielding bloggers who outnumbered the Occupiers about five to one.
Why would the Occupy Denver crowd “protest” a group of people peacefully gathered at a hotel to practice their free-speech rights? Well, they were apparently under the impression that BlogCon organizer Freedom Works is part of the sinister Koch Brothers enterprise (it isn’t.) It’s so unlike the Occupiers to show up and start screaming when they don’t know what they’re talking about.
The bloggers drowned out the little Occupier band with their own chants, including “We want the dog!”, a reference to Occupy Denver’s canine mascot / mastermind Shelby. Then one of the Occupiers, who appeared to be some species of feral hobbit, saw the door to the BlogCon conference room open, shrieked at the top of his lungs, and tried to dive inside. He didn’t make it, and was eventually carted off by the police.
The hotel staff regretfully informed us that Denver’s anti-discrimination laws prevent them from clearing the rabble out of the lobby – evidently unruly mobs can invade such spaces in Denver at will, and remain as long as they please. The paying hotel customers attending BlogCon, on the other hand, were told that we should not go into the lobby, as the nervous hotel staff feared an escalating confrontation. The police and local media eventually showed up, and the circus moved outside.
On balance, it was a disappointing appearance: no drum circles, no human microphone, no up twinkles, no celebrity dog, and no tuberculosis yet as far as we can tell.